The long awaited prequel to the already renowned legend of the insidiously haunted doll returned with much anticipation from its eager fans. The result however, was unfortunately far from perfect and will remain a flawed addition to the terrifying series.
With its slow-burning plot developing the characters stories and hidden trepidations, the tale feels disappointingly all too familiar of its many predecessors. Sandberg’s creativity to explore its boundaries also remained unhindered by restrictions of the allegedly true story (even if the plot strays increasingly far from the documented case) but that freedom quickly diminished with what seemed to be a lack of imagination.
The feature length consistently keeps the audience poised for predictable jump scares and fairly impressive visual terrors and although the tension of these scenarios may be high, the techniques are now so overused that the end result unavoidably falls into a desensitised lull. The more domineering events of the film such as the intense biblical mocking of Christ and demise of the unfortunate Mullins family proved effective (seeing nothing nearly as physically real up until this point) but were quickly robbed of a conclusive ending after Talitha Batemans’s character becomes a bland scapegoat to explain how the series began.
The dark is THE forefront of fear and will certainly be used in every horror in one way or another. What we can’t physically see will inevitably necessitate the imagination, leaving the audience with no vivid picture as to what this malevolent forces features are other than what they generate but in this chapter, very little is actually left to the imagination. In many cases such as The Conjuring, when the spectator is given a visual representation to work from, it’s usually something so heinous and terrifying that its mere presence is enough to slowly edge you back into the corners of your seat but in Annabelle: Creation, the subtle but menacing nature surrounding the infamous doll is apparently not enough.
Concentrating on exposing each individual character’s deepest fear, instead of sole engagement on the original conduit, is an admirable twist but inevitably falls flat as the continual rise of new nightmares clumped together into the end scenes feels slightly overbearing, separating the viewer from the film immersion and taking their personal involvement briefly out of the equation. It is also worth mentioning that with all the orphaned girls jetting around and outside of the house without one coming to any harm, the demonic existence feels far more escapable than previous cinema experiences.
In conclusion, the acting and script may have had slight faults but the blame for such hesitance to experiment fell at David Sandberg’s feet, even with The Conjuring’s James Wan producing and supposedly aiding in the direction. Annabelle’s audience however, entered cinemas with the forethought of fear and poised to be alarmed which undoubtedly aided in its success.
Dir: David F Sandberg
Prd: Richard Brener, Walter Hamada, Steven Mnuchin, James Wan
Scr: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Anthony Lapaglia, Talitha Bateman, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman
Cinematography: Maxime Alexandre
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch
Running Time: 1h 49 mins